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Croatia invoke grievance procedure for closed-doors rerun with England

Gareth Southgate’s Nations League game given surreal edge by home side’s perceived slight before World Cup semi-final

On the hills behind one of the stands, a small group of Croatia fans could be seen investigating whether there was a decent vantage point among the steep inclines and cluster of trees. On Friday night, when two of the World Cup semi-finalists renew acquaintances, it is tempting to think the owners of the high-rise apartments next door could make a few quid in bribes from the England supporters who have travelled to Croatia and might need some balcony space to watch the game. Otherwise, the gates will be closed.

The primitive, caged end that would usually be decorated with St George’s flags will remain padlocked and that epic night in Moscow, with 78,000 people inside the Luzhniki Stadium and millions of others tuning in, will seem a long time ago.

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